Shipowners to IMO: Fund GHG reduction R&D through $2 a tonne fuel levy

Written by Nick Blenkey

Image: IMO

Shipping associations representing more than 90% of the world fleet are calling for a $5 billion R&D program to be set up to find ways to eliminate CO2 emissions from shipping.

The industry associations have submitted a proposal to IMO’s Marine Environmental Protection Committee (MEPC) calling for establishment of an International Maritime Research and Development Board (IMRB), a non-governmental R&D organization that would be overseen by IMO Member States.

The IMRB will be financed by shipping companies worldwide via a mandatory R&D contribution of $2 per tonne of marine fuel, which would generate about $5 billion in core funding over a 10-year period.

The associations say the IMRB can be put in place by 2023 via amendments to the existing IMO Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL).

The shipping industry’s proposal will be discussed by governments in London at the next MEPC meeting in March 2020

The aim of the proposal is to accelerate the development of commercially viable zero-carbon emission ships by the early 2030s.

IMO’s CO2 reduction targets include an absolute cut in the shipping’s total greenhouse gas emissions of at least 50 percent by 2050, regardless of trade growth, with full decarbonization shortly after. The 2050 target will require a carbon efficiency improvement of up to 90 percent, which is incompatible with a continued long-term use of fossil fuels by commercial shipping.

Meeting the IMO GHG reduction goals will require the deployment of new zero-carbon technologies and propulsion systems, such as green hydrogen and ammonia, fuel cells, batteries and synthetic fuels produced from renewable energy sources. These do not yet exist in a form or scale that can be applied to large commercial ships, especially those engaged in transoceanic voyages

The international shipowner associations making this proposal are:

  • Cruise Lines International Association
  • Intercargo
  • Interferry
  • International Chamber Of Shipping
  • Intertanko
  • International Parcel Tankers Association
  • World Shipping Council

The devil, of course, is in the details: A copy of the full proposal can be found HERE

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